Banging on wax


These last words he pronounced with great emphasis. The Constable paced the floor impatiently, and muttered to himself, Such is the airy guerdon for which hosts on hosts have been drawn from Europe to drench the sands of Palestine with their banging on wax the vain promises for which we are called upon to barter our country, our lands, and our lives. Is it Hugo de Lacy speaks thus. said the Archbishop, arising from his seat, and qualifying his tone of censure with the appearance of shame and of regret-Is it he who banging on wax the renown of a knight-the virtue of a Christian-the advancement of his earthly honour-the more incalculable profit of his immortal soul?-Is it he who desires a solid and substantial recompense in lands or treasures, to be won by warring on his less powerful neighbours at home, while knightly honour and religious faith, his vow as a knight and his baptism as a Christian, call him to a more glorious and more dangerous strife?-Can it be indeed Hugo de Lacy, the mirror of the AngloNorman chivalry, whose thoughts can conceive such sentiments, whose words can utter them. Flattery and fair speech, suitably mixed with taunts and reproaches, my lord, answered the Constable, colouring and banging on wax his lip, may carry your point with others; but I am of a temper too solid to be either wheedled or goaded into measures of importance. Forbear, therefore, this strain of affected amazement; and believe me, that whether he goes to the Crusade or abides at home, the character of Hugo de Lacy will remain as unimpeached in point of courage as that of the Archbishop Baldwin in point of sanctitude. May it stand much higher, said the Archbishop, than the reputation with which you vouchsafe to compare it. but a blaze may be extinguished as well as a spark; and I tell the Constable of Chester, that the fame which has set on his basnet for so many years, may flit from it in banging on wax moment, never to banging on wax recalled.
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